Kabaddi – The Game that Originated from the Soil of India

Kabaddi
Kabaddi

Kabaddi – The Game that Originated from the Soil of India

Kabaddi is a game which you might recognize now due to the popularity it gained with Pro-kabaddi League, but it isn’t a game which originated recently. Kabaddi has been with us since not just a few years but centuries. It is still played in parts of the Country. The history of this game of energy and speed is itself controversial.

History & the unknown Origin of Kabaddi

As mentioned earlier; the exact origin of Kabaddi is unknown and whenever this question arises, controversies take over. Let’s read about the 3 most common claims related to the game and its history which further make us think about the game’s origin.

Shahr-e-Sukhteh

Shahr-e-Sukhteh

  1. Iran & Kabaddi: India claims that Kabaddi originated in the Country 4000 years while Iran objects to this and asserts that the game originated in their Country 5000 years back. Iran also claims that the proof of game existing in their Country is the ancient archaeological site of Shahr-e-Sukhteh which was discovered in the early 20th century in the Sistan area of Iran – a hotbed of kabaddi.
Real Site Image of Abhimanyu's Chakravyuh

Real Site Image of Abhimanyu’s Chakravyuh

  1. India & Kabaddi: It is believed that in India Kabaddi has existed and found mention in the pre-historic time or the Vedic yug. Mahabharata, the ancient battle fought 4000 years back, makes India relate to the game with Arjun’s son Abhimanyu breaking into the Chakravyuh of Kauravas. The approach by Abhimanyu during that time is very similar to the modern-day kabaddi. Don’t you agree?
Glimpse of Sadugudu - The Ancestor of Kabaddi

A glimpse of Sadugudu – The Ancestor of Kabaddi

  1. Tamil Naidu & Kabaddi: This certainly makes India feel proud that the game at least originated in our Country. If you have ever witnessed or seen the game of Sadugudu; you will realize that Kabaddi is the grandchild of this old Tamilian game.

Did you know? Kabaddi is the National game of India and its neighboring Country Bangladesh.

The Kabaddi Field

Kabaddi is a game comprising 2 teams with 7 members in each team. The teams face each other in a large rectangular arena for two halves of twenty minutes each. For men and women kabaddi, the arena measures 13m (42.7 ft) wide x 10m (32.8 ft), and 12m(39.4 ft) wide x 8m (26.2 ft) long; respectively. The Arena, also known as the Court is divided by various markings. Let’s take a Men’s court to understand the markings better.

Diagram depicting a Kabaddi Field of Play

Diagram depicting a Kabaddi Field of Play

  1. Boundary lines: The lines located at the edge of the court.
  2. Play area lines: These lines mark a 13m x 8m rectangular area inside the court — one meter of space separates each side from the 10m boundary lines above.
  3. Midline: This line divides the court into two equal halves measuring 6.5m (21.3 ft) x 8m. Each team’s “territory” is the play area on its side of the midline.
  4. Baulk lines: These lines run parallel to the midline and are 3.75 meters (12.3 ft) from it on either side.
  5. Bonus lines: These lines run parallel to the baulk lines and are 1 meter (3.3 ft) from them on the side opposite the midline.

How is Kabaddi played?

Kabaadi

Kabaadi

Like Cricket, a flipping coin decides which team initiates first.

Players from each team take turns running across the midline to the other team’s half of the court, tagging members of the other team, and running back. Kabaddi is a point system game and each member tagged or touched by the Raider equals to 1 point.

The player who goes to the other team to tag members of the opponent team is called Raider while the ones who face the Raider, are called Defenders.

During the raid, a raider must keep repeating the word kabaddi before he crosses the midline and cannot stop repeating this word until he crosses back to his team’s side. If he stops yelling or takes a breath on the opponent’s side of the court, even momentarily, he must return to his own side of the court, scoring no points. In this case, one point is awarded to the defending team for a successful play.  There is a specific sequence of raiding and in case this isn’t followed, a penalty point is awarded to the opponent team.

There are 12 players in each team. In which 7 players in each team plays inside the court, which is called starting seven. The rest 5 players in each team are a substitute. Substitutes come in the game when:

  • any player gets injured
  • one or more players are not performing well
  • The team is left with only defenders on the court and all Raiders are out.
Players Positioning in Kabaddi

Players Positioning in Kabaddi

The game is played in form of 3 players in front and 4 in back wherein the front players, known as the anti-raiders, keep the raider from tagging the team and crossing back over the midline. However; grabbing a Raider by his clothes, hair, or any part of his body other than his limbs and torso leads to a penalty.

Each team takes alternate between raiding and defending and switch sides of the court after halftime. Winning is the same as football – whichever team has the highest point wins.

Basic Rules

  • While playing, any defending player tagged/touched by the Raider is out.
  • If the Raider is captured by the defending players post tagging them or in case he runs out of breath and stops repeating the word Kabaddi, he is out.
  • If a Raider or defender steps out of the marked boundary; he is considered out.
  • In case of three consecutive unsuccessful raids, the last raider is out.
  • If a Raider crosses the baulk line and returns to his side, it is counted as a Successful Raid. Yay!
  • Any defender entering the raider’s team boundary before the Raider is out.

Did you know? In kabaddi; players can be revived too. Each time the team gets a member of the opponent team, the former team can revive their old player back. But doing this gives the latter team a point.

Styles of Kabaddi

Kabaddi - The game & its Styles

Kabaddi – The game & its Styles

Interestingly, kabaddi has various versions called the Styles. The 4 styles of Kabaddi recognized by the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India are:

  1. Sanjeevani: Also known as the Indoor Kabaddi; this form of Kabaddi is played for a total duration of 40 minutes, in 2 halves of 20 mins each with a 5 mins break in between. The style follows the rule of player revival in case one player of the opposition is declared to out. Also, if a team manages to make the members of the opposite team out, then the team is given four extra points. this form of Kabaddi has been adopted in Asian Games and has been recently popular due to Pro Kabaddi League (PKL)

 

  1. Gaminee: Unlike Sanjeevani, the Gaminee style doesn’t offer player revival. A player once out is out until end of the game. Also, there is no fixed match duration and the game continues until 5 or 7 points are scored.

 

  1. Amar: Amar is like Gaminee when it comes to game duration. However, in this style as the name mentions; players are Amar (alive). Each time a player is tagged, Raider’s team gains a point.

 

Circle Style Kabaddi or Punjabi Kabaddi (Also called Round Robin)

Circle Style Kabaddi

Circle Style Kabaddi

Circle Style Kabaddi originated in Punjab, is played on state and International level. In fact, Circle style Kabaddi World cup is held in our Country each year. This Style is further played in 19 different subforms. Few of the popular ones are:

  1. Lambi Kabaddi: Played between 14 players, the game is played in a 15-20ft circular field. The form has no referee and no outer limit. As a result, the players can run for as far as they can. Raider needs to say “Kauddi” in place of “Kabaddi” while raiding. Rest of the rules are the same as that of Amar form.

 

  1. Saunchi Kabaddi: Popular in the Malwa region of Punjab, Saunchi Kabaddi is similar to boxing. The raider can hit the defenders only on the chest and the defender can hold the raider’s wrist to prevent tagging. Holding any other part of the raider’s body is considered foul. If the defender holds the wrist, he is considered winner else the raider wins.

What’s unique about this form is that a bamboo is usually dug into the ground, with a red cloth around it. This bamboo is paraded by the winner in the group after each win.

  1. Goongi Kabaddi: Goongi in Hindi refers to a dumb person. In this form of kabaddi, the raider doesn’t have to repeat the word ‘Kauddi’ and just touches the opposition team’s player. Whichever player he touches is only supposed to try to wrestle him to the ground and stop him from going back to his half. If the raider gives up, the defender gets one point and in case the Raider is successful in going back his half and touching the line, he gets the point.

Did you know? Kauddi is the Punjabi word for Kabaddi.

India and Kabaddi

As already mentioned; India has had a long ancestral relation with Kabaddi. But it doesn’t end there. While we are the proud ones to hold the World’s first Kabaddi League; India is also the only nation in the world to win all the world cups in a sport till date, both in men and women category of the sport.

Men’s Standard style format has been held in 2004, 2007 & 2016 and Circle Style format have been held in 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014.

The Women’s kabaddi team has won all the three World Cups so far in the year 2012, 2013 and 2014 which was played in Circle Format. In addition to this, the Women’s

The World Cup Win History

Indian National Men's Kabaddi Team

Indian National Men’s Kabaddi Team

MEN KABADDI TEAM

  1. 2004
    1. Location: Mumbai
    2. Winner: India
    3. Runner-up: Iran
    4. Score: 55-27
  1. 2007
    1. Location: Panvel
    2. Winner: India
    3. Runner-up: Iran
    4. Score: 29-19
  1. 2016
    1. Location: Ahmedabad
    2. Winner: India
    3. Runner-up: Iran
    4. Score: 38-2

MEN KABADDI TEAM

  1. 2010
    1. Location: Ludhiana
    2. Winner: India
    3. Runner-up: Pakistan
    4. Score: 58-24
  2. 2011
    1. Location: Ludhiana
    2. Winner: India
    3. Runner-up: Canada
    4. Score: 59-25
  3. 2012
    1. Location: Ludhiana
    2. Winner: India
    3. Runner-up: Pakistan
    4. Score: 59-22
  1. 2013
    1. Location: Ludhiana
    2. Winner: India
    3. Runner-up: Pakistan
    4. Score: 48- 39
  1. 2014
    1. Location: Sri Muktsar Sahib
    2. Winner: India
    3. Runner-up: Pakistan
    4. Score: 45-42
  1. 2016
    1. Location: Jalalabad
    2. Winner: India
    3. Runner-up: Pakistan
    4. Score: 62-20

WOMEN KABADDI TEAM

Indian National Women's Kabaddi Team

Indian National Women’s Kabaddi Team

  1. 2012
    1. Location: Patna
    2. Winner: India
    3. Runner-up: Iran
    4. Score: 25-19
  1. 2013
    1. Location: Ludhiana
    2. Winner: India
    3. Runner-up: New Zealand
    4. Score: 49-21
  1. 2014
    1. Location: Sri Muktsar Sahib
    2. Winner: India
    3. Runner-up: New Zealand
    4. Score: 36-27
  1. 2016
    1. Location: Sri Muktsar Sahib
    2. Winner: India
    3. Runner-up: USA
    4. Score: 45-10

KABADDI MASTERS 2018 – Men

  1. Location: Dubai
  2. Winner: India
  3. Runner-up: Iran
  4. Score: 44-26

Did you know? The Circle Style International Kabaddi game is administered by the Govt. of Punjab and that is the reason each year the game is held in different parts of the Country.

Did you also know? That the competition is held each year except for 2015 following the Guru Granth Sahib desecration wherein the holy book of Sikhs was destroyed, and protests took place across the Country.

Harjeet Brar Bajakhana – The Father of Kabaddi

Harjeet Brar Bajakhana - The Father of Kabaddi

Harjeet Brar Bajakhana – The Father of Kabaddi

Born in 1971 in the village of Bajakhana, Punjab; Harjeet Brar Bajakhana got introduced to the game of Kabaddi in early days of his childhood and played for his school too, winning several tournaments. While studying in 8th Standard, Harjeet participated in Mini Games at Guwahati and won the tournament. Harjeet’s talent was discovered by his friends after he defeated professional kushti players at a local mela in his village.

He was admitted to Sports college, Jalandhar and this is from where his professional Kabaddi career began. He represented the Indian Kabaddi team as a Raider and his strong built and a large frame scared most kabaddi teams nationally and internationally.

Harjeet made his international debut in 1994 when he played against Canada. His unmatched qualifies and respect he showed towards opponents soon made him the man of the masses. During the 1995 Kabaddi World Cup, in a match against Pakistan; each raid by Harjeet was bided at Rs. 1 lakh. But that’s not all folks! During another match, his one raid attracted a bet of $35,000.00. Such was his stature.

Unfortunately, his life was short-lived, and he passed away in 1998 following a Car accident.

The World truly lost a legend.

VIVO PRO-KABADDI LEAGUE (Formerly called Pro-Kabaddi League/PKL)

Pro-Kabaddi League

Pro-Kabaddi League

Seeing the fame and popularity kabaddi gained during the Kabaddi tournament at the 2006 Asian Games; Mashal Sports and STAR India collaborated for a ground-Breaking Initiative called “VIVO Pro-Kabaddi League”. PKL, as it is abbreviated, is the only league in the World to bring the franchise-based format to India’s indigenous sport of kabaddi. The league is supported by International Kabaddi Federation (IKF), Asian Kabaddi Federation (AKF), and the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI). Ever since its inception in the year 2014; each season of the league has been bigger than the previous one. Because of the league; there has been tremendous growth in the game over the years.

Its interesting to know that while the league has been held in 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017; this year i.e. 2018 the league will be entering its 6th Edition. Wondering how? Because last year Kabaddi was held twice within a span of one year to let players prepare and play the World Cup. Season 5 kicked off in Hyderabad and was held in 12 cities (as the Season is played in each team’s home ground) before the finale in Chennai. In the fifth season, the league scaled unbelievable heights having expanded from eight teams to 12 teams and as many as 138 matches, spread across 13 weeks, were held. This year, even though player auction was held in the month of May, Season 6 will begin on 19th October 2018 and will run for 13 weeks. The commencement date for Season 7 has also been announced as July 19, 2019.

Is Pro-kabaddi popular?

Yes, and the popularity is increasing with each season. Don’t believe us? Let’s sneak at the viewership numbers.

During PKL 2016; the match between Patna and Pune was held on the same day as PV Sindhu’s Rio Olympics 2016 final against Carolina Marin, yet it recorded more impressions than the latter with an impression of 17.2 million. But, that’s not all folks.

Season 5 broke previous season’s records by touching new heights with staggering 26.2 million viewers. The Season 5 finals become the most viewed non-cricket sporting event on Indian television. Surprised, aren’t you?

Lets now talk about the 12 PKL teams- 4 of which played their debut matches last season.

PKL Teams

PKL teams are divided into 2 Zones – Zone A and Zone B. Each zone has 6 teams based on their geographical proximity. Each PKL player has to play 15 intra-zonal matches and 7 Inter-Zonal matches each season.

Bengal Warriors

Bengal Warriors

  1. Bengal Warriors
    1. Team Owner(s): Birthright Games & Entertainment Private Limited, Akshay Kumar
    2. Coach: Jagdish Kumble
    3. Home Venue: Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose Indoor Stadium, Kolkata
    4. Founded in: 2014
    5. Ranking as per Charts: Top in Zone B
Bengaluru Bulls

Bengaluru Bulls

  1. Bengaluru Bulls
    1. Team Owner(s): WL LEAGUE PVT. LTD
    2. Coach: Randhir Singh
    3. Home Venue: Mankapur Indoor Stadium, Nagpur
    4. Founded in: 2014
    5. Ranking as per Charts: 4th in Zone B
Gujarat Fortunegiants

Gujarat Fortunegiants

  1. Gujarat Fortunegiants
    1. Team Owner(s): Gautam Adani
    2. Coach: Manpreet Singh
    3. Home Venue: The Arena by Transstadia, Ahmedabad
    4. Founded in: 2017
    5. Ranking as per Charts: Top in Zone A
  1. Haryana Steelers
    1. Team Owner(s): JSW Sports
    2. Coach: Rambir Singh Khokhar
    3. Home Venue: Motilal Nehru School of Sports, Rai, Sonepat
    4. Founded in: 2017
    5. Ranking as per Charts: 3rd in Zone A
Haryana Steelers

Haryana Steelers

  1. Jaipur Pink Panther
    1. Team Owner(s): Abhishek Bachchan
    2. Coach: Balwan Singh
    3. Home Venue: Sawai Mansingh Stadium, Jaipur
    4. Founded in: 2014
    5. Ranking as per Charts: 5th in Zone A
Jaipur Pink Panthers

Jaipur Pink Panthers

  1. Patna Pirates
    1. Team Owner(s): Rajesh V. Shah
    2. Coach: Ram Mehar Singh
    3. Home Venue: Harivansh Tana Bhagat Indoor Stadium, Ranchi
    4. Founded in: 2014
    5. Ranking as per Charts: 2nd in Zone B
Patna Pirates

Patna Pirates

  1. Puneri Paltan
    1. Team Owner(s): Insurekot Sports Pvt. Ltd.
    2. Coach: BC Ramesh
    3. Home Venue: Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Pune
    4. Founded in: 2014
    5. Ranking as per Charts: 2nd in Zone A
Puneri Paltan

Puneri Paltan

  1. Dabang Delhi
    1. Team Owner(s): Radha Kapoor
    2. Coach: Meraj Sheykh
    3. Home Venue: Thayagaraj Sports Complex
    4. Founded in: 2014
    5. Ranking as per Charts: 6th in Zone B
Dabang Delhi

Dabang Delhi

  1. Tamil Thalaivas
    1. Team Owner(s): IQuest Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. & Blasters Sports Ventures Pvt. Ltd.
    2. Coach: K Baskaran
    3. Home Venue: Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium, Chennai
    4. Founded in: 2017
    5. Ranking as per Charts: 6th in Zone B
Tamil Thalaivas

Tamil Thalaivas

  1. Telugu Titans
    1. Team Owner(s): Srinivas Sreeramaneni – Veera Sports
    2. Coach: Naveen Kumar
    3. Home Venue: Gachibowli Indoor Stadium, Hyderabad
    4. Founded in: 2014
    5. Ranking as per Charts: 5th in Zone B
Telugu Titans

Telugu Titans

  1. UP Yoddha
    1. Team Owner(s): GMR League games Pvt. Ltd
    2. Coach: J Udaya Kumar
    3. Home Venue: Babu Banarasi Das Indoor Stadium, Lucknow
    4. Founded in: 2017
    5. Ranking as per Charts: 3rd in Zone B
UP Yoddha

UP Yoddha

  1. U Mumba
    1. Team Owner(s): Ronnie Screwvala
    2. Coach: Bhaskaran Edacherry
    3. Home Venue: DOME@NSCI SVP Stadium, Mumbai
    4. Founded in: 2014
    5. Ranking as per Charts: 4th in Zone A
U Mumba

U Mumba

Did you know? Even though the Home venue for UP Yoddha is in Lucknow, this Season the team will be playing its home matches in Noida.

Quick Sneak peek into All PKL Seasons

Season 1

  1. Debut Season of the Game
  2. Total of 8 Teams played the Season
  3. Priciest player of the Season – Rakesh Kumar (Bid price – Rs. 12.80 lakhs)
  4. Highest paid overseas player – Tae Deok Eom ( Bid price- Rs.7 Lakhs)
  5. Total of 60 games were played during the Season
  6. Jaipur Pink Panthers beat U Mumba by 35-24 to win the inaugural PKL Season.
PKL Season 1 Winners

PKL Season 1 Winners

Season 2

  1. U Mumba beat Bengaluru Bulls by 36-30 to win the Season.
  2. Telugu Titans took the 3rd position on charts.
PKL Season 2 Winners

PKL Season 2 Winners

Season 3

  1. This Season had 2 editions – A 5-week event, happen 10 weeks a year by having two editions a year.
  2. The Event took place once in January–February 2016 and once in June–July 2016.
  3. PatPirates beat UMumba by 3 Points in the final
  4. Puneri Paltan took the 3rd position on charts.
PKL Season 3 Winners

PKL Season 3 Winners

Season 4

  1. First professional woman kabaddi league – Women’s Kabaddi Challenge; was introduced in this Season
  2. Patna Pirates beat Jaipur Pink Panthers in the men’s final
PKL Season 4 Winners

PKL Season 4 Winners

Season 5

  1. The Season featured 4 new teams namely Haryana Steelers, UP Yoddha, Tamil Thalaivas, and Gujarat Fortunegiants.
  2. Most Expensive pick of the Season – Nitin Tomar (Bid price – Rs.93 lakhs)
  3. Second most Expensive Pick of the Season – Rohit Kumar (Bid price – Rs. 80 lakhs)
  4. Highest paid overseas player – Jang Kun Lee ( Bid price- Rs.80.3 Lakhs)
  5. The Season featured 138 matches played 13 weeks across 11 states.
  6. The Season also included KBD Juniors, a Children’s Kabaddi tournament organized between different schools of PKL venue cities.
  7. Patna Pirates Beat Gujarat Fortune Giants by 55-38 in the final
  8. Man Of The Tournament – Pardeep Narwal ( 19 raid points against Gujarat Fortunegiants defense)
PKL Season 5 Winners

PKL Season 5 Winners

TOP PKL Players to watch out for

  1. Rahul Chaudhari
Rahul Chaudhari

Rahul Chaudhari

Rahul Chaudhari, the poster boy of Kabaddi began his career as a defender but started playing as a Raider for the PKL team Telugu Titans. Rahul has been a part of the Indian National Kabaddi team that won gold in the 2016 South Asian Games. Born on 16th June 1993 in Bijnor, UP; Rahul has been nicknamed as the Raid Machine and also the poster boy of PKL.

As per PKL achievements, Rahul tops the list with

  • The highest number of overall points in PKL history – 538 from 60 matches
  • Most raid points – 503 from 60 matches
  • Most number of Super 10s – 25
  • Most raid points against Patna Pirates – 91
  • Most successful raids, highest raid points per match score

This Season, Rahul has been retained by Telugu Titans for a whopping price of Rs.1.29Cr.

  1. Nitin Tomar
Nitin Tomar

Nitin Tomar

The simple Born in Malakpur village in Baghpat district of Uttar Pradesh, Tomar isn’t new to the world of sport. Two of his paternal uncles were international wrestlers – a factor that made him naturally inclined to the sport as a child. But Kabaddi came to him due to destiny. Tomar moved to Maharishi Dayanand Public School, where options to practice wrestling were limited. It was then that he first took up kabaddi, though only as an informal school activity. Soon after, with promising performances in inter-school tournaments and good feedback from his teachers, Tomar took the game seriously and decided to pursue it further.

Not many know that Tomar has served the INS Angre unit of the Indian Navy and began his career in PKL Season 3. Ever since his debut, Tomar shone as Raider. He has played for teams like Bengal Warriors, Puneri Paltan, and UP Yoddha. His form of play was discussed so much so that he was selected in the national team that won the Kabaddi World Cup in October 2016 where he changed the game by scoring 2 raid points against Iran and helping India win the World cup.

Tomar was once again talk of the town previous PKL Season after UP Yoddha bid and bought him for a whopping price of Rs.93 Lakhs. This bid made him the most expensive kabaddi player to be bought in the history of PKL

  1. Manjeet Chillar
Manjeet Chillar

Manjeet Chillar

Born on 18th August 1986 in a Jat family, Defender Manjeet like Tomar, began his sports career as a wrestler but started playing Kabaddi following a nose injury. When it comes to Achievements, Manjeet isn’t far from the above 2 players. He has was a member of the India national kabaddi team that won Asian Games gold medal in 2014 and Asian Indoor Games in 2014 in Incheon. In addition to these, Manjeet was also the member of the state team of Haryana and is an Arjuna Awardee. If that isn’t enough; Manjit is a gold medallist in the National Championships in 2010, 2011 and 2012. He has also won gold at the Asian Indoor games in 2009 and the 2010 Asian games. He claimed bronze at the 2012 Asian beach games.

Talking about his PKL Achievements, was the captain of Bengaluru Bulls in Pro Kabaddi League season 1 and season 2 and captain of Puneri Paltan in season 3 and season 4. He became captain of Jaipur Pink Panthers in season 5.He is going to be a player of Tamil Thalaivas in season 6 of Pro Kabaddi League after the Tamil Nadu based franchise picked him.

  1. Rishank Devadiga
Rishank Devadiga

Rishank Devadiga

Born on 3rd February 1992, in Gangolli village, Karnataka; Rishank Devadiga is one young man who emerged as one of the most promising stars of Kabaddi at the national level within a short span of time. Raised in Mumbai, Rishank is a commerce graduate from Chetana Hazarimal Somani College of Commerce and Economics and represents BPCL domestically.

Rishank started playing Kabaddi at the age of 6-7 years which always worried his mom but Rishank was able to juggle both his passion and his academics efficiently. His commerce degree and his achievements in the world of kabaddi are proof of it. In 2015, his stellar performance was enough to attract attention from the Indian National Kabaddi team. He is also the youngest PKL player at just 25. Through his loyalty, diligence and hard work, he was able to rise up the ranks and make a name for himself on the Kabaddi circuit.

Rishank started his PKL Journey in 2014 as part of the Mumbai based team – U Mumba as a Raider. While playing with the team, the 6ft tall raider has bagged 2 silvers and a gold. Until 2016, Rishank played 59 matches and amassed a total of 320 points. Out of which, he has 284 raid points and 36 tackle points. Rishank was bought for a bid price of Rs. 5 lakhs by U Mumba but UP Yoddha snatched this high caliber player from Mumbai for a bid of Rs.45.50 lakhs.

  1. Ajay Thakur
Ajay Thakur

Ajay Thakur

Born on 1st May 1986; Ajay Thakur is the current captain of Indian National Kabaddi team. There will hardly be a soul who wouldn’t recognize Ajay Thakur for his unique raiding style. Ajay was the star player of the 2016 Kabaddi World Cup final as it was his stunning performance combined with the team effort that added another winning feather in India’s hat. Ajay scored 12 raid points in the final match against Iran. Along with this; he also won the title of highest overall points scorer with 68 points.

As per PKL is concerned; Ajay is one of the oldest kabaddi players and played for Bengaluru Bulls during Season 1 and 2 wherein he scored a total of 122 raid points in 15 matches and 79 raid points from 13 matches, respectively. His swift raiding during this the two seasons placed him at the 4th position during Season 1 and 3rd position during Season 2.

Ajay’s performances were appreciated to the extent that Puneri Paltan made him a part of their team during Season 3 and 4. Before moving to the newly formed Tamil Thalaivas team in previous season i.e. Season 5.

  1. Anup Kumar
Anup Kumar

Anup Kumar

Born on 20th November 1983, this former Indian National Kabaddi team Captain has been the talk of tinsel town for his raiding. It was Anup was a part of the India National Kabaddi team during Asian games 2010 and 2014 where India bought Gold medals home. Unfortunately; the national kabaddi team lost this great player after he retired in 2016 after making the National team win in the 2016 World cup. Anup now plays only in PKL.

The Arjuna Awardee became a part of the Mumbai based U- Mumba during the debut Season on IPL as the Captain. He led his team to the finals but the team lost to Jaipur Pink Panthers. However; Anup’s Season performance of 155 raid points in 16 matches earned him the “Most Valuable Player” award. He was also recognized as the most successful raider of Pro Kabaddi.

Maybe it was this loss in Season 1 that Anup decided to not give up in Season 2 and the team won their maiden Pro Kabaddi title in 2015 after defeating Bengaluru Bulls, under his captaincy. Anup scored 74 raid points in Season 2.

During Season 3,4 and 5 too; Anup adhered to U Mumba. During Season 5, Anup became the first player in Pro Kabaddi to complete 400 raid points.

For the upcoming Season 6, Anup Kumar will be playing for Abhishek Bachchan owned franchise Jaipur Pink Panthers which bought him for a bidding price of Rs.30 lakhs.

Isn’t it great to know all this about the players we have only seen on screen or at the stadium from a distance? Well; we aren’t done yet. It’s time to write about the ones who have excelled in all fields they have laid their hands on. We are not being true feminists but an article without the mention of the Women’s team which till date hasn’t lost a single match is certainly worth it.

Indian Women and Kabaddi

Women Kabaddi Challenge

Women Kabaddi Challenge

Like any other sport, Women Kabaddi players have made the Country proud with 0 defeats in their kitty. Seeing this a Women’s Kabaddi Challenge ( WKC) was announced by the AKFI in close association with Mashal Sports during PKL Season 4. The WKC as it was abbreviated had a total of 3 teams- Fire Birds captained by Mamtha Poojari, Ice Divas captained by Abhilasha Mhatre and Storm Queens captained by Tejeswini Bai. The best of players across the region were handpicked to be a part of this Challenge. The caliber of these Indian women Kabaddi players can be gauged by the fact that India has won all Golds at the Asian Games since 2006.

The teams were coached by Padmaja, Banani Saha, and Neeta Dadwe for Fire Birds, Ice Divas, and Storm Queens respectively. Challenge was played across various cities including Mumbai, New Delhi, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Jaipur, and Pune. After a successful Season, the WKC wasn’t held last year. As per the Foundation; WKC was an experimental Challenge and the Foundation is planning something bigger for the Women Kabaddi players.

Our fingers are crossed while we wait for the Challenge to return. A league maybe?

Did you know? Tejeswani Bai, Abhilasha Mhatre, and Mamtha Poojari; are Arjuna Award winners.

Lets now know mention the following teams and thank them for making India proud and recognized as the Kabaddi Kings Internationally.

Indian Women’s National Kabaddi Team

  • Captain: Mamtha Poojari
  • Vice Captain: Henry Joseph
  • Others
    • Karmi
    • Ram Bateri
    • Sonia
    • Harwinder
    • Suman Gill
    • Meena
    • Sunita
    • Jyoti
    • Manpreet Kaur
    • Sukhdeep Kaur

Indian Men’s National Kabaddi Team

  • Captain: Ajay Thakur
  • Others
    • Girish Ernak
    • Surender Nada
    • Sandeep Narwal
    • Mohit Chillar
    • Ray Lal Chaudhary
    • Surjeet Singh Narwal
    • Deepak Niwas Hooda
    • Pardeep Narwal
    • Rahul Chaudhari
    • Rishank Devadiga
    • Monu Goyat
    • Rohit Kumar
    • Manjeet Chhillar

Ankita Bhardwaj

A Journalism(H) graduate from KNC, Delhi University; Ankita loves to pen down her thoughts in form of blogs, Articles and quotes. She is an avid traveler who believes that "Life is Car, Steer it Properly and Safely."

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